The EDC backpack
Over the past couple of years, the designs of backpacks that were intended for the military, have come a long way to finally become a completely new branch of the so-called EDC (Every Day Carry) backpacks. The main feature that remained from the military designs are the materials they are made of, their durability, PALS (mostly for looks), color and tactical velcro for a patch that raising the owner's tacticool level. Such backpacks can still be used during a military patrol, but they have more useful features for everyday and typical touristic use. When it comes to backpacks, the civilian and tactical market often draw inspirations from each other. The choice on the market is enormous, and the parameters of available backpacks vary widely depending on its purpose, length of its intended use and, most often, the designer's creativity.
This time we will look the a product made by the 5.11 Tactical company which has released a new series of backpacks called AMP (All Mission Pack). These backpacks are designed to be a truly universal solution, both when on and off duty. Was the goal achieved?
A younger brother of Rush
Over the years, the most recognizable backpacks in the 5.11 offer were the ones from the Rush line (models 12, 24 and 72). I own and have been regularly using the 24 (37 liters) and 72 (56 liters) models for almost 10 years now. Those are great backpacks but, in my opinion, have some utility defects. In the new All Mission Packs series, we have have thee models available: AMP 12 (25 liters), AMP 24 (32 liters) and AMP 72 (40 liters). The numbers correspond to the number of hours one is supposed to be able to spend in the field with a given backpack, considering the amount of supplies it can carry. After a few months of using the new backpack, I get the impression that the 5.11 Tactical designers have been paying close attention to the opinions of Rush line users that they accumulated over the years. What one can immediately notice is the change in the capacity of a backpack in relation to the expected number of hours spent in the field. This perfectly reflects the progressing miniaturization of the individual elements of carried equipment.
AMP – a higher culture of backpacks
The AMP12 was originally the smallest backpack in the line, but has been recently superseded in this role by the an even smaller AMPC model. The backpack looks like a very well designed and made product. High attention to detail is striking. It looks great when unpacked, an opinion shared by several people, including women. It is simply neat and nice looking.
The backpack is available in the following colors: Tungsten - dark gray (some say its closer to blue-gray), Ranger Green, black and Kangaroo (similar to Coyote Brown). The backpack described in this review was made in the last color listed. Models with higher capacity are additionally available in the GEO7 camouflage (we wrote about it here). Maybe the AMP12 model will also be available in this variant one day.
The main compartment of the AMP backpack has a full clamshell opening with smoothly working Quad-Zip zippers. This allows complete access to the contents of the backpack. The AMP12 is made mostly out of lightweight but durable 500D Dobby Nylon weaved into a micro-ripstop pattern. The bottom of the backpack is additionally reinforced with 1050D Nylon, a feature not clearly not visible at first glance. All the materials are also covered with the DWR (Durable Water Repellency) layer to improve their water resistance. This solution work well as water is condensing on the surface of the backpack rather than soak through it.
The most characteristic part of the backpack is the HEXGRID® 9x9 panel which is part of the Gear Set™ system. It is made using a laser cut laminate composed of 420D to 1000D Cordura® Nylon. This material is both flexible (but non-stretchable) and durable. Thanks to the HEXGRID® system, the panel can be used both as a platform for an ergonomic attachment of MOLLE pouches at various angles and can also be used as a flat openwork pocket fastened with a Velcro at the bottom. The HEXGRID® 9x9 Gear Set™ is mounted using a 21x22 cm Velcro patch and has additional G hooks for top attachment and split S/R buckles for side attachment. Using the same mounting system is also possible inside the backpack, and will be described later.
All Mission Pack and Gear Set™
The AMP12 backpack is a part of the new „ecosystem” designed by 5.11 Tactical. It is a modular system allowing to additionally personalize the backpack and equipment, depending on the current needs and to exchange modules between platforms.
<iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YAcT86y2_sE?wmode=opaque" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" />
At the time of writing of hits article, the following modules are available:
- HEXGRID® 9x9 - included with every AMP backpack;
- Admin – a spacious organizer;
- 2 Banger Gear Set™ – includes two magazines pouches, two cargo compartments, one of which contains an organizer.
- Double Deploy Gear Set™ – a clever pocket, or rather two smaller, low-profile pockets with zippers.
- Med Pouch – a medkit;
- Flex Double AR Mag Pouch – pouches for AR standard magazines;
- Helmet/Shove-it Gear Set™ – a helmet transportation system;
- Laser Cut Molle Gear Set™ –a panel with laser cut PALS.
The Gear Set modules can be mounted using a Velcro, thanks to which they can be quick torn off and replaced. For a more secure mounting, however, it is worth using the buckles. The manufacturer has announced that the system will be developed further.
The HEXGRID® panel, which is characteristic for this line, is also used on the All Mission Plate Carrier. Recently, a car seat mounted panel for additional equipment inside a car has been presented. Interchangeable panels and the ability to mount them inside the backpack also provide more practical modularity than the ubiquitous MOLLE straps, which slowly appear to become obsolete in some applications.
The vast majority of the backpack's cargo space, in this case 25L, is located in its main compartment. A fully packed backpack does not leave much free space in the outer pockets, therefore if we fill them up, we take away the space from the main compartment.
There are two pockets in front cover. One on the outer side, hidden under its own small cover. Inside, we will find a sewn-in Velcro panel and a tape allowing for mounting a gun holster or other accessories.
The second, more spacious pocket, with an access from the top, is discreetly closed with a YKK zipper. Inside it, there is another pocket designed for storing glasses. It is worth noting that the more things are placed inside this pocket, the more space is taken away from the main compartment. Both pockets are padded with a soft nylon in light gray color. It is also a practical solution to help you find the contents of the pockets (some companies even use a bright orange color for this purpose).
The main compartment is similarly finished, with the difference being in the back part, where the material used, allows a Velcro panel to be attached to it, using the surface with hooks. Similarity to the external front part of the backpack, at the top of the main compartment there are also loops for attaching the G hooks, which allows you to mount parts of the Gear Set™ system.
The main compartment, as in many other models of this manufacturer, has inner pockets made of mesh, allowing for better organization of the equipment. The first one from the top will easily fit a headlamp with a battery and, for example, a smartphone. The second one is bigger and has a simple organizer. An interesting feature is a hidden pocket under the upper pocket. It is closed to a discreet zipper and allows you to safely carry, e.g. travel documents. My first thought - wow!
The main compartment can be compressed using four straps.
In the back part there is a pocket for a laptop or a hydration bladder. The pocket is also padded with the same, bright nylon. The rigid rack insert can be removed.
The load bearing system
The shape of the shoulder straps is a bit similar to the Rush series. The straps themselves are wide, padded with thin foam and finished with smooth nylon on the underside. In the area of the neck you will find a patch of soft material that will serve both to collect sweat and to reduce the risk of irritating the skin - its a great thing.
Under the shoulder straps there is a place for marking the backpack.
The back part is made of a thermoformed sponge, profiled in the lumbar region. In the middle, a venting channel was embossed. The sponge absorbs moisture well, but to have a relatively dry back one has to attach a rack that that will leave some space between the backpack and its user. Such solutions can be found in the 5.11 Tactical offer, for example, in the Ignitor backpack. At the bottom, the manufacturer's logo has been embossed.
The back part, especially in the lumbar region, is easily stained with the color from the clothing worn. The AMP12 is sold with an incrementally adjustable chest strap. There is no hip belt (only the AMP72 has it), but it is possible to mount one. The shoulder straps have elastic loops for holding a hydration system tube. The buckles have been secured with poly spandex "sleeves".
Usage and price
The AMP12 backpack is the optimal everyday backpack and, if you are stubborn, can be used on two-day trips out in the wild. To increase its usefulness, I bought the Admin and Dual Deploy pouches from the Gear Set™ system. The first pouch allowed me to pull the smaller, less regular pieces of my equipment (flashlight, multitool, compass, GPS, knife, lighter, flint etc.) out of the main compartment and organize them better. In addition, the convenient mounting system gave me the ability to attach this module only when I need it. Until I started using it, it was a bit of a nuisance to repack all the gadgets between backpacks. Reattaching a fully loaded MOLLE-based pouch was not comfortable either. Now I just move the entire trip loaded module.
I installed the Dual Deploy Gear Set™ in the main compartment. It consists of two separate pockets made of a stretchy and light poly spandex, which means that when they are not used, they do not take up space. At the same time, they can be conveniently used to quickly place something in the backpack in a controlled manner.
The front flat pocket for carrying a tablet, maps (or weapons) is very practical. The second pocket in the cover, thanks to the smooth nylon, allows you to comfortably put other handy things in it, in my case, an additional sweatshirt or a Gore-Tex jacket. Naturally, I also use the soft pocket dedicated for glasses, but it is useful not only for carrying eye protection.
It is worth emphasizing two practical yet seemingly insignificant features. One is the carrying handle. It is placed in such a way that the backpack by hand remains vertical no matter how much it weighs or how its contents is distributed. Secondly, I also pay attention to the zippers which, as far as I'm concerned, should allow themselves to be conveniently open with just one hand. In 5.11 Tactical backpacks they work great. This might seem as nothing special but when one is tired, a malfunctioning zipper can be very frustrating.
On the downside, I would like to have an inner side pocket for a bottle of water, present in higher capacity models. It is a pity that there is also no bottom pocket for e.g. a rain cover, also present in higher capacity models. According to some people, the backpack is also a bit heavy in itself (1.3 kg), although I did not pay attention to it.After 8 months of almost everyday use, several winter and summer trips to the mountains, a trip around Taiwan in the heat of the sun interrupted by typhoon rains, it was thrown around in accordance with my philosophy "just dump it anywhere and as you see fit" and still does not bear any signs of use (except the load bearing system). The backpack only partially give in to the rain. It was exposed to soaking out of curiosity, because it is not fully waterproof and in normal circumstances I would put on a rain cover on it.
The AMP12 is a versatile backpack, comfortable to carry and use. A load of a dozen or so kilograms is worn comfortably. Its form is attractive and excellent craftsmanship really pleases the eye and gives a lot of pleasure from using it. But quality costs and this backpack has to be treated as a high end product.
Epilogue or 5.11 can surprise
Many industry manufacturers often offer great quality backpacks, but sometimes they just use already known solutions reproduced in various forms. 5.11 Tactical can always show something new. A shinny bit that distinguishes them from all the others. This is one of the things that made me respect this manufacturer for many years now (fanboy alert!).
5.11. Tactical is a company that, from the very beginning of its existence, has chosen the direction of combining in its products the quality required in broadly understood tactical applications and practical solutions for everyday conditions. Their motto, "Always be ready", is part of the EDC philosophy, and the latest line of the All Mission Pack backpacks is the best example of this.
I was not looking for a new backpack. For almost 10 years, together with my friends, we were using the indestructible RUSH backpacks, also made by 5.11 Tactical. The RUSH24 proved to be a spacious backpack and luggage (carry and registered) during multiple flights and travels around Asia. The RUSH72 accompanied me during many trips to the mountains, bushcraft trips and on typical holiday trips. In both cases, I value their indestructibility, surprisingly large cargo space and a high level of contents organization. What I expect from a backpack is that I will not have to worry about the conditions its being used in that much. This is obviously a feature that most modern backpacks with a tactical flair have, nevertheless, both of my RUSH models have bravely endured many years of unkind treatment. At the time, they were also one of the first backpacks on the market, that had a full clamshell opening cover. After years of use, I would consider their somewhat bulky shape as a disadvantage. It seems that the AMP series will replace my already worn out RUSH models. Therefore, I am even more then happy that could test the AMP12 model. I would recommend it.
Website of AMP line products:https://www.511tactical.com/amp